This past week, Puntarika Tunyavanich (Mean), a Thailand National Team climber and CMRCA sponsored athlete, made her first ascents of 8a at Nam Pha Pa Yai camp in Saraburi. Not only was she able to break into the next grade, but she was able to send two 8a routes in one day! That’s some serious endurance and stamina!
We did a quick recap with her on this impressive achievements and here’s what she has to say about her ascents.
Can you talk about the routes?
“I managed to send two 8a routes! One is called Les Chemins de Kanmandou and that took me 4 tries and another is called La Roca and it took me three tries. They are both really hard!” The first route was about 37 meters so it was pretty long. My rope just barely made it to the ground and didn’t have to climb down a tree like some other routes. There are 8 really hard sections but I made through them using mostly knee bar. There were 1 – 2 meter of good rest. I was super pumped and breathing was so crucial on this route. The second route was a bit more bouldery. It was about 30 meter long. Because of the style and the small crimps at cruxes, I had to try really had to hold on with my fingers. The second route was definitely super hard and felt like I almost didn’t make it.
What made you decide to try your first 8a’s?
My trainer from Sweden, Harry Denanto, came to visit and he wanted to climb some 8a routes, so I decided that it was the time to try it as well.
Did you train in particular for these routes?
Yes, I did. Harry sent me some workout routines to follow and I spent two months training.
How confident were you about sending the routes?
Honestly, I wasn’t at all. I was lucky to have Harry who could give me really useful tips, advice and suggestion on where to rest and how to climb efficiently on these routes. With him there, I was able to gather enough confidence and courage to give these routes my best. I was happy to be able to climb them! I also did a little prayer asking for some lucks (hahaha).
Was the weather a challenge?
The weather was definitely not helping. It was so hot. I had to constantly chalk up because my hands sweat so much. I was sweating all over and that made everything more slippery and hard to grip. There was also no wind and I felt like I was going to faint.
So what’s next? More 8a’s or onto 8a+?
I definitely want to try to onsight or redpoint all 8a routes at Nam Pha Pa Yai before moving on to the next grade.
Mean is one of Thailand’s best climbers and has been traveling all over the world representing Thailand at various world-class competitions. She recently took first place in bouldering at the Asian University Climbing Competition, 6th place in lead at the Asian Championship and she also competed at the World Championship last year. Read more about her Mean and her competition successes here.
CMRCA would like to thank Ben Grasser and Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp for allowing us to use these photos for the blog!